Worst Battles In The History Of War

World War Two is certainly one of the worst wars for casualty numbers in recent memory. Here are five of the worst battles in the history of war.

Attack on Gallipoli – 1915


British General Sir Ian Hamilton was in command of the World War One invasion of Gallipoli in 1915. Similar to World War Two’s D-Day landings the Allies attempted to access and attack the Turkey coast from the sea. Their intention was to take Turkey out of the way, which was then an ally to the Germans.

The Turkish army was not modern and in theory the attack should have been a success, but the full coastal attack meant that it was a suicide mission waiting to happen. Nevertheless the Allies took just around 75,000 troops and early in the morning of April 25th, the attack was launched on the Turkish coast.

Turkish gunmen made easy prey of the slow incoming troops, and only a few made it to shore. Hamilton meanwhile was a long way off shore and could not see what was happening on the beaches. Communications were non-existent and the troops that did make it to shore were left to fend for themselves. Around 2000 made it to shore. Eight months later Allied troops were evacuated from Turkey with around 500,000 men losing their lives, the History Net reports.

US Civil War at Fredericksburg


Part of the US Civil War the battle at Fredericksburg was a devastating defeat for the Union Army. General Ambrose Burnside led the Union Army and would be blamed for the defeat ever since. He believed that if his troops moved quickly they could take the Confederate capital of Richmond through Fredericksburg. The two armies confronted each other and the Confederates defended so well that the Union was unable to make any advancements towards Richmond. More than 12,000 Union soldiers died.

Vietnam War at Dien Bien Phu


In 1954 the Northern Vietnamese Army took apart around 16,000 French Army defenders at Dien Bien Phu. The French has underestimated the skill of the Vietnamese forces and as French supplies dwindled they were unable to stave off the advancement of the Viet Minh.

Italy’s Invasion at Adwa


In 1896 the Battle of Adwa took place between the Italians and the Ethiopians. Around 150,000 troops and men were involved as the then Ethiopian King, Menelik II and his wife the Empress Taitu pitted their troops against the European invaders.

Custer’s Last Stand at Little Bighorn


The Battle of the Little Bighorn took place in Montana, US in June 1876 and was Custer’s last stand. Lieutenant Colonel George Custer and his 200 troops were slaughtered by the Sioux Indians and their allies.

Custer launched the attack on 2000 Sioux and Northern Cheyenne Indians and he never stood a chance. Custer had been advised to wait until more reinforcements arrived but with the element of surprise lost, Custer decided to go ahead with the attack anyway.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE